To become a good fighter, he has to practice. To be a great fighter, there are four key areas one has to develop proficiently. These four areas are the building blocks to maximizing training, and they provide benefits in other elements that a fighter must possess.
Technique is where it all starts. To be an effective fighter or martial artist from any level, you need to know the technique. Without it, you will not know what to do in a fight or self defense situation. Thankfully, technique is one of the easier things to learn and it only gets better over time.
In class, we focus on the basic techniques first. The more we develop the basics we can draw from them to more advanced technique. For example, performing a side kick can carry into a turn or spin side kick. Focusing on the techniques below is important if you want to develop correctly as a fighter:
- Boxing Techniques: Jab, Cross, Hook, Uppercut, Back Fist, Hammer Fist
- Kicking Techniques: Front Kick, Round Kick, Side Kick, Thrust Kick
You can perform these drills with a partner using focus mitts, heavy bag, and shadow boxing. The more you perform good technique, the better and more natural they will become. Technique is a great catapult to our next topic, Accuracy.
What is the point of good technique if you cannot hit the target you are trying to hit? Just like firing a gun at a target, you become more competent with a firearm the closer and more consistent you are on the bull’s eye. This is also very true when fighting. Throwing a great cross or back punch is useless if you cannot hit your opponent.
To perfect your accuracy, you should aim for smaller targets just like shooting the bull’s eye. Use focus mitts or a heavy bag to perform this drill. There are other resources out there that are built for improving accuracy, but for the sake of saving you money, there are cheaper methods you can use.
Add strips of duct tape or other adhesive to a heavy bag to aim your shots. Use x-ray sheets small enough to work on accuracy if you do not have a heavy bag. As far as focus mitts, you can use tape or the logo in the middle of the pad.
Here is where technique and accuracy come in to play. The more you develop and perfect your technique and accuracy the more power you are able to generate. Some level of power will come naturally when you first start out, but for most, not enough to actually do any damage.
Devastating power comes over time. The little tricks you develop through technique and accuracy will maximize the power you can generate inflicting damage to your opponent. When starting out though, focus mitts and heavy bags are built to help you develop powerful technique.
The more shots you throw into the heavy bag, the more power you can generate. Overtime, the muscles will become stronger generating more mass to deliver harder shots. The more you train, your body will learn to adapt to your training making you much more fit and conditioned for powerful kicks and punches.
Speed is the last part of the fundamental training. The faster you are in reflexes, shot execution, movement, and footwork, the harder it will be to hit you, block, or evade your shots. Speed is a lot like power; the more you train on speed, the faster you will become. You will not be fast over night. It takes dedication and a lot of hours to become faster.
There is a lot of ways to train speed, but for this article, we will focus on just brief areas you can develop speed. Bag work will be used less, but still can be used. Instead of throwing harder shots which will naturally slow your punches and kicks some, focus on throwing fast, less powerful shots. For example, focus on control. Practice tapping the bag versus hitting all the way through.
Shadowboxing is another useful drill to work on your speed. There is nothing to hit, so you will not feel the need to hit hard. Double up on shots such as the jab or front kick. Shadow boxing will develop the muscles in your legs and arms to focus more on endurance vs. strength.
Wrapping It Up
Right now you might be thinking, “What about cardio and conditioning?” These four areas give the added benefits of improving your stamina, increasing your conditioning without even realizing it. Hit a heavy bag for an hour focusing on T.A.P.S. You will notice you are not only improving in your technique and power, you are able to train longer stints than before.
For cardio and conditioning, though, you should also look at ways of diversifying your workout routines, such as running and weight lifting. They can give you the added cardio benefits the four fundamental areas are not meant to. But do not substitute one for the other, because they can work together. Train harder than you fight.